Every year, researchers, students and industry representatives come together for the Jean Jerphagnon Award, which rewards innovation in the field of optics and photonics. This year, the jury and its president, Alain Aspect, have rewarded Antoine Dubrouil, physicist and founder of Femto Easy. The ceremony is part of the Optics-Photonics Events for the Industry of the Future organized by Institut Mines-Télécom and the Academy of Technologies. These events showcase technological innovations in a wide variety of industries. For this year’s ceremony which was broadcast via webinar on 9 July, Gilles Le Saux, Senior Vice-President of “Foresight and Research” at Essilor International, gave a talk on the evolution of the ophthalmic optics industry.

The Jean Jerphagnon Award

The Jean Jerphagnon Award, organized by IMT and the Academy of Technologies with support from Fondation Mines-Télécom, seeks to honor the memory and extend the work of Jean Jerphagnon, who died in 2005 after leading a distinguished career, from basic research to innovation, in the field of optics and photonics.
This €10,000 award aims to promote technological innovation and the diffusion of optics and photonics in all fields of application.
It is awarded to a researcher or engineer aged 40 or over who proposes an innovative project:
– of high scientific value or high industrial potential
– that marks a milestone in his or her career
– comprising at least one optical or photonic element
The President of the Jury, Alain Aspect, professor at the Institut d’Optique and member of the French Academy of Technologies, presented the Award to Antoine Dubrouil.

Antoine Dubrouil, winner of the 2019 Jerphagnon Award, holds a doctorate in physics and lasers and specializes in ultrafast lasers. He completed his PhD at the Centre for Intense Lasers and Applications (CELIA) in 2011, where he focused on research, production, characterization and use of fast laser pulses ranging from a few femtoseconds to attoseconds. These unprecedented temporal resolutions, which had hitherto been unattainable by humans, paved the way for new applications, in fundamental research, industry and medicine. He then went on to develop a new laser source based on post-compression and decided to complete a post-doctorate at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.
After observing that the measurement instruments available on the market only partially met researchers’ needs, he started to develop his own tools based on new concepts, which he would continue to explore at Politecnico di Milano in Italy, where he completed a second post-doctorate. He then returned to CELIA in 2014 with the goal of starting a business based on his research, Femto Easy, which he launched in 2016.

A large part of his company’s work focuses on R&D and developing instruments for measuring ultrafast lasers (femtosecondes) that are both reliable and easy to use. Unlike state-of-the-art devices that must be accurately aligned to obtain a measurement, his products can be placed directly in the laser beam and obtain a measurement in a few seconds.